Vienna is a tram city. It has one of the densest networks of tram lines in the world and trams are used by over 200,000 people every day. They are a great way to explore the city and see beyond the tourist track. This page presents photos and brief descriptions of the Tram 49 line and adjoining neighborhoods.
Tram 49 in Vienna travels from Dr Karl Renner Ring to Hütteldorf.
Starting Point: Dr Karl Renner Ring – Karl Renner Ring is on Vienna’s Ringstrasse (each portion of the Ringstrasse has its own name, but it always ends with the word “Ring”). The Ringstrasse was built on the site of the former city walls between 1865 and 1880. Inside the Ringstrasse is the historic city center. Many of Vienna’s most famous buildings were built along the Ringstrasse during the late 19th Century including the Parliament, University, State Opera, Burgtheater, Natural History Museum and (Historic) Art Museum (Kunsthistorische Museum). Tram 49’s starting station is an easy walk from all these buildings.
Grab a seat … if you have an old tram the best seats are the first ones in the second (trailer) car. The first car has the motors that power the tram. The second car is just a trailer with no motor. Since there is no driver you sit in the front and have a nice view. However, you’ll have competition getting these seats if there are children nearby!
First stop: Volkstheater (“people’s” theatre) an ensemble theatre group presents suburb quality works (in German). Beautiful theatre building. The Rote Bar is open for drinks and snacks before performances (for ticket holders) and afterwards for everyone (about 10:15 pm +/-) as well as for special music events. It’s well worth a visit. The Volkstheater is on right of the photo.
Volkstheater is also the station for the MuseumsQuarter, a set of museums and cultural organisations built in the former Imperial stables (you’ll see busts of horses above the entrances). The inner courtyard is one of Vienna’s most popular places to meet and people watch all year round.
Second Stop: Stiftgasse – This station is in the middle of Vienna’s Spittelberg neighborhood. The neighborhood features many Bidermeier-era buildings and several pedestrian streets. There were plans to tear down many of the buildings during the 1970s and 1980s, but residents protested and the city decided to spend funds on helping renovate the buildings rather than tear them down. Today it’s one of Vienna’s most loved neighborhoods. It’s filled with restaurants and interesting shops.
One of my favorite places is the Amerlingbeisel (Stiftgasse 8) … Beisel means an informal restaurant in the Viennese dialect. The building houses community groups, a neighborhood museum and the restaurant. The restaurant serves very good food and drinks in “an idyllic guest garden located in a courtyard”.
Another Spittelberg hit is the Theater am Spittelberg. This is a small theatre featuring live music, generally Viennese or international. They have a great program – our Wiener Beschwerdechor (Vienna Complaining Choir) sang there in September 2013.
Third Stop: Kirchengasse – This station is located on a very pleasant small square. Check out the stonework on the building housing the SPAR store. In the summer it’s a great square to have a drink and watch the people go by.
Fourth Stop: Neubaugasse – Neubaugasse is the commercial heart of Vienna’s 7th District (the name of the district is: Neubau). The street is filled with all kinds of shops and restaurants.
Westbahnstrasse Tram Track Reconstruction 2009
I live in this section of the Tram 49 line and in the summer of 2009 the Wiener Linien rebuilt the tracks. It was a big construction project and, as a real civil engineer, I documented the construction extensively. Here’s a link to my pages describing the Westbahnstrasse Tram Track Reconstruction 2009.
Now back to the tour!
Fifth Stop: Zieglergasse – The tram is now traveling on Westbahnstrasse. The name comes from the fact that the street leads sort of towards the Westbahn (Western Railway) and Westbahnhof (Western Railway Station). The street is filled with interesting small stores, many featuring local designers and products. It’s fun to walk down Westbahnstrasse from Neubaugasse to the Gürtel … checking out the clothes, cloth, pepper mills (!!) from Wauwau at Westbahstrasse 7, shoes, Leica cameras, etc … and a quite odd store selling, well things like: 5 metre long bamboo poles (we needed one for our hops plants).
Among the shops is a toy store called Spielwurm specialising in wooden toys. For many years they had a special tram shelter for children in front of the shop at the Zieglergasse stop, but the new shop owners have not replaced it (I need to talk to them!). There’s an old photo on the right.
Around the corner on Zieglerstrasse is a self-serve take-one/leave-one book case, a great way to recycle books, and amazingly there are always people there!
There’s a fantastic Tapas restaurant called Toma tu tiempo at 44 Zieglergasse just down the street and one of Vienna’s top restaurants Gaumenspiel is just a little further at 54 Zieglergasse (their sister restaurant, a bistro called St Ellas located next door, is also very good, but unfortunately is a smoking restaurant). Both serve very high quality creative food and excellent Austrian wines as well as my favorite Austrian beer, Trumer Pils.
Here’s a link to my song about the local Italian ice cream shop: Take me out for some Ice Cream!
The Podium restaurant at Westbahnstrasse 33 is a good bet for high quality food in an informal atmosphere.
If you’re into photography check out the Westlicht Gallery. Located at Westbahnstrasse 40 in a courtyard adjacent to the Leica Store it features a changing set of excellent photo exhibitions.
Sixth stop: Kaiserstasse – Kaiserstrasse is a commercial street running between Mariahilfestrasse and Josefstaeterstrasse. It’s not as pedestrian friendly as Westbahstrasse, but there are some interesting shops. Since there’s less foot traffic some of these shops are rather marginal, which makes them interesting! Vienna’s Tram 5 from Westbahnhof to Praterstern runs down Kaiserstrasse. Here’s a fun photo from the track reconstruction done in 2009 of the crossing between the Tram 49 and Tram 5 tracks.
Urban Loritz Platz - Gürtel
The Gürtel is a big roadway that runs (roughly) around the first set of Vienna neighborhoods (districts). There was originally a wall here too, although not as substantial as the wall protecting the city center (removed to create the Ringstrasse).
The Gürtel is a divided roadway with a wide median, the Urban Loritz Platz tram station is in the median. The photo below was taken from the steps of the Vienna main library which is located on the north side of Urban Loritz Platz, also in the median of the Gürtel. The library is located above the Stadthalle U-Bahn (metro) station.
The U-6 metro line follows the route planned by Otto Wagner and used for steam trains in the late 1800s until the mid 1900s. The Stadthalle station still has the original station house designed by Wagner at Burggasse (north end of the station) and the station platforms follow the original design.
The Gürtel, due to its heavy traffic serves as a real dividing line in Vienna. Also many of the buildings are used for quite marginal uses (seedy nightclubs etc.). There’s an ongoing effort, partly funded by the European Commission, to help clean-up the Gürtel, but it’s slow going.
The photo above shows the Urban Loritz Platz tram station. In addition to serving Tram 49, the station also serves as the terminus for tram lines 6 and 18, both of which travel along the Gürtel towards the south. Tram 49 makes a jog here from Westbahnstrasse to Märzstrasse and continues west towards Hütteldorf.
The 49 tram runs west on Märzstrasse from the Gürtel. It shares the tracks with the 9 tram until Schweglerstrasse. Both trams stop at the Schweglerstrasse U-3 station.
The 49 tram makes a sharp turn off of Märzstrasse at Huglgasse, then another sharp turn onto Hütteldorferstrasse.
Hütteldorferstrasse is a long street leading from the Gürtel out towards the former village of Hütteldorf. On this page I’ve divided the street into an east, middle and west section.
Hütteldorferstrasse in this section (east) is a busy commercial street. The first main stop is at Johnstrasse where there is a large shopping center. Inside the shopping center, on the back side, is a farmers market that is not at all touristic. The shopping center is built over the U-3 Johnstrasse station.